Beach Slang at Black Cat
Rock-n-roll lives on. Not that it has evolved so much over its lifetime. Beach Slang have that small but still grandiose rock sound which is reminiscent of more than a few bands from the 80s. They seem to know quite well how much they were influenced by The Replacements. So maybe it's not impressive in some sense that a current band sounds like one of the best bands from thirty years ago but... that's what I want to hear.
The Marked Men at The Black Cat
I've said it before and I'll say it again, middle-aged punk bands are the best. If your band sticks with it for that long then you must be doing something right. And given that The Marked Men have a MySpace page I am pretty sure they qualify.
It isn't just The Marked Men's website which reminds me of the 00's (The "naughts"? The "zip-os"?) They have that emphasize-the-rhythm quality which was really popular in that era. Taken to the extreme you get something like Pennywise but The Marked Men don't go that far. Instead they stick to playing punk rock with some actual rock content. Music which is actually catchy not just energetic. I suppose you could even call them pop-punk but if so they're just a little tiny bit pop, not enough to stop their fans from headbanging. Trust me I know because some of them were banging their heads into my back.
Dirty And His Fists at The Black Cat
Rad new Garagepunk band alert! If you love crunchy, high energy, rough-around-the-edges rock 'n roll then check out Dirty And His Fists. If you can find them. They're so new they have no Internet presence at all except for a demo on Bandcamp for $999.99. All I know about them is that they're from "California" which is about as helpful as saying they're from "Europe" or "Asia".
So what do they sound like? Well, the last time I shot a Damaged City Fest there was this band who kind of reminded me of The Points. Well, Dirty And His Fists remind me even more of The Points so there.
Dirty And His Fists's Websit... never mind, Music (the cheap version).
Tenement at Black Cat
I've joked about bands with three fuckin' guitars before but I do not recall ever seeing a band with three tambourines. Yeah, that's right, three fuckin' tambourines, plus the bassist flailing all over the place, just constant motion on stage. Except maybe when they're tuning. Tenement don't sound like your average punk band but the energy is definitely there.
I should mention that all of those tambourinists played another instrument (keys, violin, sax) and sang backing vocals as well. It's the type of band which probably explains how I ended up without any musical talent. Must be there's only so much to go around.
Anyway, Tenement have a reputation as a pop-ish punk band. Their first album reminds me of Against Me! more than anything. Like many punk band they've developed a more "sophisticated" style now that they've "learned to play their instruments" and brought some country and classic rock influences into their music. They're kind of like Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires without being so blatantly Southern (admittedly a rare quality among bands from Wisconsin). Shoot, once in a while they even play a ballad! As long as they keep the energy up though it is good stuff.
Black Masala at Black Cat
Black Masala threw one hell of a party, and somehow I'm not shocked that I missed it until now.
See, one of the problems with being into rock-n-roll is that there is a lot of it out there. I can easily go to a rock show every night of the week. I don't because a lot of is too bland and I do have be awake at work and all but I could do it. This makes it easy to miss all the other good stuff. I hadn't caught Black Masala before, hadn't caught Orchester Praževica (whose guitarist joined them to sing a song), rarely get to Bossa or Marx Cafe. Ah well, now I have been enlightened.
I'm not deeply familiar with Balkan music or even jazz so let me tell you what this sounds like to my inexperienced ears. It sounds like Swing more than anything else. It's music for daaancin'. Of course some chords, some rhythms sound vaguely familiar, perhaps from catching "gypsy punk" bands like Amour Obscur and Gogol Bordello. In fact they covered the latter at this show, two songs I think? Not that Black Masala claimed to be "gypsy" (which is probably a good thing). Rather, I suspect that some of them are affiliated with DC's Jazz scene. They probably have their experimental bands. Black Masala is their fun band.